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Marxism Today – London Workers Power lecture series Autumn-Winter 2011

These lectures, organised by Workers Power London branch, offer a chance for more indepth considered discussions on political issues and debates that are going on today.
All lectures at LSE Student Union, in the under bar at 7.00pm. Entrance is free
28 September
Israel, Palestine and the Arab Revolutions of 2011
Towards a regional conflagration?
2011 has been one of those “mad years” when rulers who were once considered all powerful and political systems that were once thought unchangeable have been thrown into crisis. A revolutionary mood swept across the Middle East, bringing down Mubarak, Ben Ali, and, most recently, Gaddafi. The winds of change have even inspired a round of social mobilisation in Israel, but, despite being inspired by the Arab Spring, the movement is yet to raise the question of the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Marcus Halaby asks is there a historic opportunity to put the emancipation of the Palestinian people at the centre of a wider Middle Eastern revolution?

 

12 October
The Second International and the fight for women’s liberation – recalling a forgotten legacy 
Women’s liberation was a cornerstone of the classical Marxist tradition. When socialists set out at the turn of the  20th century to build mass working class organisations, their aim was not limited to the emancipation of working men, but to the end of the centuries old system of patriarchy, and build a socialist world in which all people could be free. This theoretical and practical tradition of women’s emancipation as a cornerstone of Marxism is however often forgotten, not least because it was largely abandoned by the social democratic and Stalinist parties that dominated working class politics for much of the last century. Rachel Brooks uncovers a forgotten legacy.

 

26 October
Black History Month: how the struggle against slavery changed the world
The triumph of capitalism as a global system was a cruel and bloody process involving great struggles betweens peoples, nations and classes. Amongst all the theft, naked domination and war that went hand in hand with colonialism, slavery is perhaps its darkest and most immoral aspect. The heroic struggle against it in Africa and America transformed the world. An entire race of people won the right to no longer be treated as mere property to be bought and sold by their white masters. Yet, argues Jeremy Drinkall, it left behind a legacy of terrible racism and social oppression which we live with to this day, as former slaves and their future generations entered the property-less and exploited ranks of the working class.

 

9 November
The Gramsci Enigma
The ideas of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci are popular on today’s radical left. But of all the Marxist thinkers of the classical tradition, Gramsci is the most enigmatic. His ideas often appear to be puzzling and contradictory and there is little agreement on the radical left on what the “real Gramscian tradition” is. The style of Gramsci’s writings lend themselves to these controversies, because they are often as opaque as they are thoughtful and innovative. Luke Cooper tries to solve the riddle of the Gramsci enigma and considers the significance of some of his key concepts, for problems of theory, tactics and strategy that we confront in the modern world.

 

23 November
The ideas of Leon Trotsky – are they still relevant today?
Leon Trotsky was one of the foremost leaders of the Russian Revolution, when for the first time in history working people took power into their own hands. But he was also the individual most associated with the fight against its degeneration and collapse into Stalinist bureaucratism and dictatorship. He spent the last years of his life keeping the flame of the genuine revolutionary tradition burning as the world plunged into the darkness of global war. By any definition this is proud history. But are Trotsky’s ideas still relevant for the struggles of the modern world? Simon Hardy looks at the role Trotskyism can play in the battles against austerity, war and dictatorship across the globe.
7 December
Where is Britain Going? Cameron, Cuts and Class Struggle
Working people in Britain are up against a Tory government in all but name – one determined to finish the job that Thatcher started with slash and burn cuts to our services and sweeping privatisation. Even the NHS has not escaped Cameron’s “reforms”. Like in the 1980s the bitterness of the Tory years has returned with riots breaking out across Britain. Now is the time that our unions should be fighting, but our trade union leaders have been slow to react as the cuts and privatisations start to bite. As millions take to the streets to defeat pensions, Richard Brenner looks at the class struggle in Britain today and how we can win.

 

 

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